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The Power of Positive Dog Training follows the principle of positive reinforcement in training your dog. It is characterized by ignoring negative behavior and only reacting to wanted behavior by providing a reward. Some other books in this category follow a similar principle, whereas others use methods incorporating correction as well. Some trainers believe that using only positive reinforcement is not a natural way for a dog to learn, and that in their natural state in the wild pack leader dogs will correct unwanted behavior to keep order and harmony within the pack, and that this is an important survival instinct. These trainers assert that only using positive reinforcement cannot correct the more aggressive instabilities within some dogs with serious behavioral problems, and that for matters of safety, mild appropriate correction techniques should be used which will speed up the learning process and restore the dog to a more natural state. Here, Miller addresses the question, "Should You Ever Punish?" She suggests that punishment as a result of a bad thing happening can be justified, and is called "positive punishment". However, she says that a loud "no" can suffice and be as powerful as any physical reprimand for a dog. Dogs basically want to be good and to fit in with the pack. As a responsible dog owner, it is up to you to decide which method will work best for you and your dog.
This author, Pat Miller is well respected in her field and widely read. This book is thorough in its content, and deals with a wide range of daily training needs. Information is provided on the importance of observing, understanding, and reacting appropriately to your dog's body language. This book explains the importance of observing the dog's body language as a preventative method for curbing unwanted behavior, rather than punishing it for the wrong behavior after it as happened. A special feature of this book is training using the clicker - a simple tool that works by the trainer using it to make a clicking sound when the dog has done a requested action, followed by a treat in the form of food. The idea is that the dog will associate the sound of the clicker with the reward, and become very attentive to your commands. This has been proven to be a very effective method. However, it is difficult to use on dogs that are not food-motivated, for example if they have digestive or dental problems, or just do not respond in that way. Once the clicker method has been successfully implemented, this book teaches us how to phase it out so that the dog will obey the command without the need for the clicker or reward.
We have not awarded this product in terms of community support and diversity of formats used because there are not many pictures in the book, which would give at least one star for formats used. Although not usually included in the purchase of a book, some of the books in this category include online communities and other features available through the authors website, though this has none, hence the zero star ratings there.
Clicker training can be a lot of fun. You might want to start by teaching your new dog its name so that you can get its attention. More advanced commands are covered here, such as recall and tricks. As Miller says in her chapter "It's All Tricks" training your dog should be fun because as soon as you get serious, you will lose Fido's attention and teaching him anything will be much harder. This book is clearly written by an experienced expert and will provide an interesting insight into the dog's perspective and help you to live in harmony together for years to come.
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